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Statins cut cancer death risk: study

Statins cut cancer death risk: study
Photo: Statins cut cancer death risk: study
A 15-year study of almost 150,000 people has found those taking the cholesterol-lowering drugs are more likely to survive cancer.

Statins could cut the risk of dying from cancer by up to 55 per cent, according to research.

The 15-year study, conducted at Stanford University School of Medicine and presented at the American Society for Clinical Oncology's annual meeting, involved 146,000 American women aged 50 to 79.

For common cancers such as breast, prostate, bowel and ovarian, researchers found the death rates among those taking the drugs were at least 40 per cent lower.

The largest difference was a 55 per cent reduction for those suffering bone cancer.

When all cancers were taken into account, patients on the medicine were 20 per cent less likely to die.
Although cholesterol-lowering drugs may not prevent cancer, experts believe they could save thousands of lives by slowing the spread of the disease.

A second study carried out at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey analysed death rates of 20,000 men with prostate cancer.

It suggested that statins were more effective than chemotherapy, experts said.

Doctors said it was not clear why they had such an effect, although cholesterol - which the drugs target - helps spread cancer.

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